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Girls tennis ready to honor past championship players

Claremont girls tennis coach Kathy Settles was anxious to get her team practicing on Tuesday at Claremont High School, but first she had to clean the courts. Using a hand held blower, Coach Settles cleared the area of debris that could result in a slip and a season ending injury for one of her players.

“I have to do it every day,” she quips before getting the girls going on an agility drill. Even though the courts are fenced, they must be made available to the public when CHS students are not using them. Still Coach Settles wishes some visitors would be more respectful in heeding the signs against skateboarding and bicycle riding.

Coach Settles started at Claremont when her son Christian was a freshman player. At first she just coached the boys, but soon added the girls as well. Her leadership continues a rich legacy of championship tennis at Claremont. And now she wants to celebrate that history.

Coach Settles aims to procure metal placards for the individuals who have won championships for Claremont tennis over the years and attach them to a fence above the courts. But it will take some effort and some money.

“I am really excited about this project, but I am going to need to do some fundraising,” she said.

“It would be great to recognize them, and I want our current players to realize they are a part of a great legacy, Coach Settles said. “It is a fun project to work on.”

She mentioned a few names including her current number one seed singles player Goldie La, who did not lose a set all of last season until the round of 16 in the CIF tournament. She also talked about last years’ boys champion Leyton Bohren and the Leahy brothers, Andrew and Alan.

Anyone who was a champion Claremont tennis player, no matter how far back, deserves a placard she said.

Under her tutelage there have been significant improvements to the courts including a resurfacing last year and the addition of bleachers and landscaping. This year they will be getting a windscreen for the west-facing fence, courtesy of the school district, which should cut down on wind as well as glare from the late afternoon sun. They will also be adding more landscaping donated by Armstrong Garden Center with labor provided by both the boys and girls teams.

Girls tennis split a Palomares League title with the Ayala Bulldogs last year and this year looks to be a repeat. Aside from La, Claremont has three other talented underclassmen: sophomore Caren Uribe, freshman Jacque Pearsall and sophomore Jahday Drewery. Pearsall will be playing singles, while Coach Settles is still deciding on her doubles pairings.

“I think we will do well,” Coach Settles said about the upcoming season. “The singles can just do their thing, but we need to learn how to win together, as a team and in doubles.”

Claremont’s first non-league game was Thursday evening against Los Osos, after the COURIER’s deadline. Then next week the girls have two more non-league games against Troy on Tuesday and rival St. Lucy’s on Thursday, leading to the league opener against Alta Loma on September 18.

“Those matches are important to work the kinks out,” Coach Settles said about the preseason games. We will have our hands full with Ayala this year, but our goal always is to win league.”

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com